iSticky – Sending Stickies Around the Internet

I’ve been using the Macintosh Stickies to keep track of things for years. It’s been my standby note taking application for 3 main reasons:

  1. free with the OS
  2. just start typing
  3. no need to explicitly ‘Save’
  4. works without internet access

I thought it’d be neat if Stickies could be shared. The folks behind iSticky thought so too. I’m playing around with it today and looking to test out the iStickyServer sharing bit. If you’d like to as well, I’m ‘garrick’.

So far, my favorite bit about the application is the zen-like sample/intro notes:

“We hope you’ll enjoy our network service in a peaceful way!”

“It’s very important to check your preferences, because there are many features to discover.”

Some Powerbook Keys Not Working

Oddest thing. I pulled the PowerBook out the laptop bag and a handful of keys stopped responding.

I’ve opened up the Keyboard Viewer to confirm. Here’s the list thus far:

  • return & enter (came back after restart)
  • Tilde
  • Caps Lock
  • F12 (initiates my Dashboard)
  • Disc eject
  • Left square bracket
  • Arrow up
  • Arrow right

I plugged in the USB keyboard from the eMac and that brought everything back. Weird.

Update 14 January 2006
Problem came back today – lost ‘Q’ through ‘P’. Seems to happen when waking from sleep. This time plugging in the external keyboard didn’t fix it, nor did restarting. Waiting did. Maybe 10 minutes and all the keys came back.

Update 15 January 2006
‘Q’ through ‘P’ is gone again. I’m typing this from the keyboard viewer. Annoying. Apple says I need to replace the keyboard. Blah.

Ok. After a couple hours sleeping. The top row is back, but and all those other keys are gone. Oddly, this is less annoying. Let’s see what happens on restart.

Everything was going great until I plugged the PowerBook in after running down the battery for 2 hours. Then, I lost the keys again. Not all at once. First delete and the arrows, then a couple minutes later – the top row.

Top row is back. Space, delete, and arrows are still gone.

Update 16 January 2006
Stopped by the Apple Store – Roseville this afternoon, got the keyboard diagnosis confirmed and put one on order. Thankfully, they can handle the repair locally.

Update 21 January 2006
Took in the PowerBook for the repair this afternoon. I got a call as soon as I left the Apple Store saying the keyboard’s connecting cable was loose. They firmly plugged it in and everything’s back to normal. No repair necessary. Definitely a downside of locking the PowerBook down so tightly – not even the Geniuses could correctly diagnose the problem.

The PowerBook is Back


After what felt like 7-to-10 days without my laptop, I picked it up from the Roseville Apple Store this afternoon.

It was a complete zoo there; line half-way to the door, people packed in the aisles, boxes of iPod Nano cases everywhere.


Anyway, the PowerBook is all shiny and clean, speakers work, mic works, modem is recognized, SuperDrive is burning a back-up as I write this. Yeah! Almost like it’s my birthday.

Oh, Sam – if you’re curious, PowerBooks go to Texas.

eMac Is a Poor Replacement for a 17 inch Powerbook

The laptop is in the shop this week. Nothing as serious as Sam’s iBook problem, just a handful irritations I wanted to eliminated before the new year.

That list:

  • SuperDrive not accepting discs.
    Just made me realize how infrequently I actually use CD or DVDs.
  • Internal speakers & microphone not working.
    This is a small irritant – especially when I’m podcasting, but I could just plug in a USB audio device and I’d be good.
  • Modem not recognized.
    I’ve never needed it for dial-up internet access, there are times when I need to fax. Not frequently – but enough to remind me to get it fixed.

Until the PowerBook returns, I’m working on an eMac. This particular eMac isn’t happy with the situation. My standard collection of persistently open apps; Mail, NeoOffice, Adium, MarsEdit, NetNewsWire, Safari, iTunes – is just too much for it.

A Podcaster’s Christmas List

It’s the holiday shopping season and I thought it’d be useful to pull together a quick list of computer gear and accessories for the beginning podcaster. Things that would put the best foot forward and provide a good foundation to grow and expand…or not.

Anyway, I was pretty surprised at how low the final price was for all the gear (less than $2,000), and that if you already have a computer with an audio recording application, it’s less than $100 for the mic and cables to get you started. Amazing.

Happy Holidays.

Oh, and send me the podcast if you pull one together this holiday season.

eMac Fax Modem Killed My Phone Line

I had to send a couple faxes yesterday. Something I do so infrequently that I just use the OS X’s built-in faxing on these rare occasions.

The modem on my Powerbook hasn’t been working right for a while now – neither has the disc drive. I’m getting a real good idea of how much I need these features when they don’t work right (very little).

Anyway, I was using the fax machine in Jen’s eMac. It wouldn’t go through and it wouldn’t go through, and it wouldn’t go through.

This morning, the faxes still hadn’t gone through – plus the DSL was down and no dial tone on the line.

Two great guys from Qwest came out and took a look this afternoon.

Conclusion: the eMac fax modem freaked itself out, and didn’t hang up correctly on one of the attempts, taking the whole line down with it. DSL and all. Dang.

Locally Running Multiple Rails Apps on OS X

There’s a couple of place describing how to support multiple Rails apps locally. They were either unavailable or way more complicated than I’d like (the HowtoDeployMoreThanOneRailsAppOnOneMachine at the RubyonRails wiki was both). Here’s how I was able to get multiple Rails apps running under Apache on OS X 10.4 Tiger.

  1. Created 2 Rails apps; AppOne and AppTwo
  2. In each of the apps’ public/index.html file I changed “Welcome to Ruby on Rails” to “Welcome to AppOne” and “Welcome to AppTwo” respectively. (You don’t need to do this, though it did seem to be the easiest way to see when it works.)
  3. Opened up and unlocked NetInfoManager, duplicated machines > localhost twice, renamed one “appone” and the other “apptwo”.
  4. Opened up Apache’s httpd/httpd.conf file, uncommented NameVirtualHost *:80 and added the VirtualHost blocks.

    NameVirtualHost *:80

    <virtualhost *>
    ServerName AppOne
    DocumentRoot /Users/garrickvanburen/Rails/AppOne/public/
    <directory /Users/garrickvanburen/Rails/AppOne/public/>
    Options ExecCGI FollowSymLinks
    AllowOverride all
    Allow from all
    Order allow,deny

    <virtualhost *>
    ServerName AppTwo
    DocumentRoot /Users/garrickvanburen/Rails/AppTwo/public/
    <directory /Users/garrickvanburen/Rails/AppTwo/public/>
    Options ExecCGI FollowSymLinks
    AllowOverride all
    Allow from all
    Order allow,deny

  5. Restarted Apache > sudo apachectl graceful
  6. Opened up two browers; one to http://appone/ and the other to http://apptwo/
  7. Clapped and victoriously declared “Yea” to an empty room.

As I should have known, this blew up my non-Rails localhosting – specifically phpMyAdmin. Repeating the steps above for phpmyadmin returned access to my database.

Solving PowerBook Trackpad Dead Zones

For about a week, the half inch on the far left and far right of my Powerbook’s trackpad were completely dead. Basically, it turned my 17″ Powerbook trackpad down to a 12″ Powerbook trackpad. These dead zones caused extremely flakey and erratic cursor behavior not to mention my mental image of the trackpad’s size was all messed up.

I was using SideTrack to add trackpad scrolling and had grown accustomed to placing my finger on the far left border (I’m left-handed) of the trackpad to scroll. These dead zones rendered that action completely useless. Thinking it might be SideTrack freaking out, I installed iScroll2. I got scrolling back, but only when my fingers were in the exact center of the trackpad. Way to awkward to actually be useful.

James from the Foundation suggested I open up the Keyboard & Mouse System Preferences Pane and uncheck “Ignore accident trackpad input.” After un-checking, the entire trackpad became active again. Thanks James.

I think that option should be re-labeled “make trackpad smaller”.